Survey: More than half of small businesses say they can't operate past three months amid virus outbreak
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A majority of American small business owners said their businesses could not weather more than three months of the economic strain induced by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by Goldman Sachs.

Of 1,500 business owners surveyed earlier this week, 51 percent said their business would only be able to operate for up to three months. Only 13 percent of respondents said they were confident about their contingency plans, according to the survey.

The survey found that 96 percent of small business owners said they have already been affected by the pandemic, with 75 percent saying they have had fewer sales and 53 percent saying their employees do not have the option to telecommute amid the pandemic.

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The survey comes as Congress weighs whether to provide loans and grants to struggling small businesses amid the pandemic, with Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioLessons from the front line — Florida's fight with sea level rise SNAP, airlines among final hurdles to coronavirus stimulus deal Senior State Department official headed to Peru to bring home stranded Americans, Rubio says MORE (R-Fla.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP presses for swift Ratcliffe confirmation to intel post Campaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus Senate eyes quick exit after vote on coronavirus stimulus package MORE (R-Maine) pushing for direct assistance.

“There’s strong conviction and belief that we’re going to have to step up, using the local banks and all the banks to participate in a program guaranteed by the [Small Business Administration] to provide immediate cash availability to businesses in order to be able to maintain workers,” Rubio said this week.

The Goldman Sachs survey of more than 1,500 small business owners from 48 states and four U.S. territories was conducted March 16-17.